When you turn to the police for help, you expect them to arrive and be kind to you. You want them to be efficient and to handle your case with care.
Even when they’re stopping you for a traffic violation or other offense, you expect the police to be respectful of you and not to attempt to escalate a situation into one of violence. Sadly, many people do end up injured or threatened by the police. Often, this is a result of police misconduct.
Police misconduct can be relatively harmless, but it also has the potential to cause injuries or result in deaths. It’s essential to report when an officer is in violation of the law, so that there is a record of misconduct and a potential for penalties and repercussions.
What are some examples of police misconduct?
Police misconduct can take many forms. Some common situations of misconduct include:
- Abuse of authority
- Sexual assault
- Torture to force confessions
- Police brutality
Here’s an example. An officer might stop a person for a traffic ticket and realize that it’s a younger teen. They could lie and say that they see drugs in the vehicle to perform an illegal search. Even if nothing comes of it, this dishonesty is a kind of misconduct.
Victims often fail to report misconduct, but if you believe that you’ve been mistreated by the authorities, you should speak up. Though the police are enforcing the law, they are not above it.
What causes police misconduct?
Police misconduct could be a result of many different factors. Some officers may like to be in control. Others might lose their tempers or go over the line trying to get a statement out of a defendant. There is no simple answer for why some officers go too far, but it is clear that it’s unacceptable.
What should you do if you’re a victim of police misconduct?
If you believe that you have been victimized by the police through one of the types of misconduct above or through other means, it’s important that you speak with your attorney about your experiences. It can be difficult to hold the authorities accountable for their actions, especially since it’s often the same people who hurt you that have to take the complaint. Your attorney will work with you to help bolster your case and take it to the appropriate levels, so you can be heard and get justice.